It’s easy to become jaded in this business when every press release sent out for a new artist talks about him/her being the next (Insert famous (mostly dead) musician here). So when the heads up I got for Thomas Abban drew comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and Bruno Mars (the latter not dead) arrived, I probably wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as his PR Rep. Still a quick listen interested me enough to cover his show. When I arrived at the Icehouse I had just covered six bands and spent 2+ hours running up and down stairs. I was tired, hungry, and yeah a bit grumpy.
Starting the show was one of many bands that Minneapolis singer/songwriter and producer Jon Herchert is involved it – according to him his favorite. He dedicated his opening song “Kids these days” to his kids staffing the merch table. I liked their sound, melodic indie rock, easy to listen to and sticking with what works for the genre with enough interesting twist to keep listeners interested. They introduced a new song – but I did not catch the title.
A growling stomach drove me to the adjoining bar area – it was either that or snatching food from someone’s plate. The Icehouse’s late night pork sandwich gets 2 thumbs up for being as close to the perfect Schnitzelsemmel as this Austrian has encountered in the US (and it’s a steal at $ 10). A rolling drum and cymbal intro made me grab my gear and run into the main room – Abban’s set was starting early……….
It was a bit like Alice jumping down the rabbit hole: The stage filled with smoke, low blue lights, guitar joining the drums, and Abban on stage wearing a mask as the intro came to a crescendo. I had literally stepped through a curtain (the one separating the bar from the main room) and into the late 60s. Then Abban’s voice hit me and even though I had never seen Hendrix live I suddenly got what the comparison was about. He’s not trying to create the vibe, it’s what he is. The energy coming from the small stage took over the room..His voice reaches the high ranges effortlessly and his guitar play flows naturally, almost like an afterthought.
On his quieter songs a more soulful Thomas Abban came out with his voice losing some of the edge it held for the opening numbers, but still letting you feel the raw power underneath. It’s a big of big dog having a playful puppy moment – you never forget that there’s 100 lbs of animal beneath. I did not see a set list, so I don’t have any of the song titles, but listening to “A Sheik’s Legacy” as I write the review 2 songs have become my favorite “Death Song” and “Irene”
This was the release show for “A Sheik’s Legacy”, and I have the feeling we are going to hear this album quite a bit and see a lot more of Abban in coming months. Look for him to many best of lists for this year.